Most of us believe in happiness or at least in the theory of its overflowing joy and ever-filling peace in our lives. If we're not experiencing happiness in the present, we like to think that it's waiting on us somewhere in the future. If we could just make it to retirement or into the new year, happiness will meet us there. If we could land a higher paying job, if we had a better boss, if we could drop the weight, or if we were married; happiness would be possible.
For too many people, happiness is possible … if only. In one of my recent Career Masterminds a participant said, "I can't be happy when I'm working for a jerk." That statement alone got me thinking about the countless times I've heard others align their level of happiness with current circumstances. Why do we allow our circumstances to determine our happiness as if our lives were a mathematical if/ then equation?
It was Anne Frank who said, "We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same." Our definition of happy is most likely to be all different too; nevertheless, I like using the dictionary's description of happy which is---the feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
In his book, Happier, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar said, "We can experience sadness at times and still enjoy overall happiness." Happiness, I believe, is not something experienced in the absence of challenging times but something we experience in spite of difficult times. It's the smile that causes your cheeks to rise when your heart is filled with peace that surpasses understanding or is contrary to your reality. Happiness is that sense of divine adventure that pulsates in your soul, even while working for a jerk or sitting in a square, blue cubicle doing work that' s nowhere near what you desire to be doing.
Being a person of faith, I believe that there will always be attempts to steal, kill, and destroy my happiness but I choose to focus on the fact that I can and should live life to its fullness … not waiting for life's "if" to be happy. When you wait on happiness by looking at if and when life changes, you put your life in the hands of others. This, I believe, is a trick to keep you focused on what's wrong in life so that you become blind to what is good in your life. Instead of waiting on if to happen to find happiness, make a decision to live a life of fullness today. Dr. Ben-Shahar says, "you can learn to be happy by opening your heart and mind to happier ideas and you'll feel more fulfilled, more connected …and yes, Happier." Here's a few tips to get you started:
1. Passion – Routinely do things you're passionate about
2. Quiet Time -Spend time alone with the purpose of listening within. If you're not sure about your passion, this is a great place to start figuring it out
3. Gratitude Journey – Keeping a record of what you're thankful and grateful for heals the soul
4. Sleep – Getting rest is essential for good mental health
5. Personal Growth – Invest in your personal growth by prioritizing time to learn and growth
What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and let's get happier now!